Happy International Women’s Day! It seems perfect that #IWD2018 coincides with the day our intrepid volunteers arrive in Nepal!

The women of the Days for Girls micro-enterprise in Dhading Besi.

The worldwide theme of this year’s Women’s Day is #PressforProgress. For many women in Nepal, progress comes from access: to health care, to schooling, to jobs, to support and mentorship. The majority of PFAV’s work focuses on broadening this access. Our annual health camp, which takes place next week, provides many services specifically for women and children including cervical cancer screenings, Pap smears, prenatal vitamins, and menstrual hygiene kits.

But it goes beyond basic health. We know that entire communities are lifted when women have the tools for success, wellness, and fulfillment. That’s why we support projects like The Educational Journey (TEJ), which provides mentoring for school-aged girls, and Days for Girls, which equips girls to stay in school during their periods and provides employment for single mothers. With education, employment, and leadership opportunities, women not only transform their own lives but also strengthen their families, communities, and cities. Women change the world.

So on this Women’s Day, in addition to sending your well-wishes to the women in your life, consider how you can Press for Progress. Support women-owned businesses, not just today or this month, but year-round. Think about giving to organizations that prioritize the needs of women and children – needs that vary greatly around the world. Stay informed about women’s health, education, and leadership news by following people like Malala Yousafzai (@MalalaFund) and hashtags like #LetGirlsLearn on social media.

As we begin our journey in Nepal today, PFAV wishes you a happy Women’s Day and a year of progress ahead, inspired by the wise words of Mary Shelley: “The beginning is always today.”